When to Start Teaching your Kids about Dental Health?

Despite the fact that it is entirely preventable, cavities are five times more common than asthma and seven more times more common than hay fever in young children. More than 40 percent of children have tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten. Studies also estimate that tooth decay (also called early childhood caries, or ECC) is the most common chronic children’s disease in the country. Children with dental caries in their baby teeth are at much greater risk for cavities in their adult teeth. Studies show that more than 90% of adults have had a cavity and 1 in 4 has untreated cavities. Consequently, it is of paramount importance that parents strive to establish good oral health care from the first few weeks of their baby’s life, as well as to inculcate a culture of exceptional dental hygiene in their children’s lives.

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It has been tried and tested, but you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Thus, the earlier one teaches good dental hygiene habits to one’s children, the sooner the children will develop positive habits that will stick with them throughout their lifetime. This may be especially useful in the current age where all manner of sugary as well as artificial foods is available for consumption; these foods hurt one’s oral hygiene. Parents can instil the discipline through the following ways: setting a good example, teaching the core skills of oral hygiene, making it fun for their children and finding a dentist for one’s children.

Children pick up what their parents do fairly quickly and can mimic them to perfection; from how one walks or how they treat others. Anything one does, one’s children can do better. As a result, practice what you preach! Parents should brush their teeth in front of their children and make sure they take good care of their own teeth. If their environment (the family) has a habit of taking oral hygiene seriously, then the kids will do so too.

One should also strive to teach one’s children about the basics of oral health as early as possible. These including brushing one’s teeth twice a day, flossing every day, minimising consumption of starchy and sugary foods, as well as regular visits to the local dentist for check-ups.

Brushing one’s teeth may well be the most crucial part of maintaining one’s oral hygiene as it directly relates to the removal of disease-causing bacteria. Teach the children to brush the outer surface of their teeth, the inner surface, as well as their tongue. Studies have revealed that bacteria accumulate greatly in areas of the tongue between the taste buds and the other tongue structures.

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If you have the typical defiant child who is resistant to brushing or flossing, then you may have to consider making it less of a chore in the eyes of your child and more of a fun activity that they can look forward to. One way of doing this is getting a toothbrush with their favourite cartoon character on it. Another could be turning the whole exercise into a game. You could also consider offering some reward or incentive such as some additional pocket money for consistently maintaining their oral hygiene for an extended period. Perhaps you could find videos focused on oral health education which contain popular characters such as a prominent movie star or some fictional character.

Parents can only do so much when it comes to teaching their children about dental hygiene, so it is important to find a local trusted dentist to aid them. Therefore parents should take their children for an initial check-up as soon as their first tooth appears. The dentist is bound to give them sound advice on how to take care of their children’s teeth as well as set up a schedule for their children’s check-ups. Furthermore, parents can rely on the doctor’s expertise and have their queries answered.